Studies in National and International Development


National and International Development

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Title:  The Syria/Turkey Border as Palimpsest of Sovereignty: The Spatial Life of Contraband Commerce between Anatolia and the Levant

Date: February 6, 2020
Venue: Mackintosh-Corry Hall, D214
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Speaker:  Emrah Yıldız, Northwestern University

This talk examines the formation of the Syria-Turkey border as a palimpsest of sovereignty—defined here as a temporal and spatial nesting of ideologies, goods and people on the move. It particularly foregrounds how cross-border contraband merchants have helped produce this maelstrom on a regional scale. It argues that at important historical junctures contraband commerce between modern Turkey and Syria came to link regimes of value and territorialization, border delineation and land dispossession, and economic informalization and political treason.



Emrah Yıldız, Northwestern University

Emrah Yıldız is Crown Junior Chair in Middle East Studies and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University. He is a historically attuned cultural anthropologist, studying routes of religious, commercial and political mobility between Iran, Turkey and Syria. His research lies at the intersection of historiography and ethnography of borders and their states; anthropology of pilgrimage and visitation in Islam as well as the study of currencies and contraband commerce in political economy.